Over the years I have discovered that you can grow closer to someone even if you are moving farther apart. Enter Laurel. Laurel is one of my absolute best friends. Our friendship has grown so much from our time as gal pals in Youth Group. We have gone from catching up when I was home in college to maintaining a steady stream of everyday correspondence over 10 years later.
Laurel is one of my constants and proof that no matter the distance between, the time since you last were together or the craziness of life, friendships can get stronger.
Here are 5 things I do to keep a healthy and growing friendship with people far from me:
1. USE SOCIAL MEDIA
Our lives are busy and we all struggle to carve our time for long phone calls and even text messages. You can keep the communication alive through simple things like Facebook comments, Instagram DMs and tweets. Maybe an IG post from a blogger reminds you of a friend and your mutual obsession with gingham - send it to her! Read an article that totally relates to an inside joke you have? - email them a link! Find an epic photo from a fantasy destination you want to travel to together? - share that pin! Don't discount the power of the simple social ping! It keeps the conversation alive.
2. DOWNLOAD MARCO POLO
This has to be hands down my favorite new app. It allows you to send video clips to other app users and the best part is - they don't go away! It is so fun to send clips back and forth and adds the wonderful benefit of a visual aid to communication streams. It also helps with feeling more connected when Facetime isn't an option. It can still feel like you are video chatting live. It's the quickest and easiest way to share video and face message someone.
3. PRIORITIZE THE VISIT
Naturally, planning time to be together physically with friends is important. I try to soak up all the time I can with my family when I am in town but I am also sure to intentionally save margin for friends like Laurel. Explaining the importance of seeing a friend to your family when you are in town (and setting the expectation up early before the visit) is super important. When you can, invite them over to your parents house so you can kill 2 birds with one stone! Often Laurel will come along with my Mom and I when we run about town and this allows me to spend time with both the women I love.
4. TRADER JOES DOLLAR CARDS
Remember snail mail? I always want to send letters but they seem so time consuming and often I don't know what I could write about. When another best of mine, Sarah, moved to NYC we started sending each other Trader Joes cards. The grocer has an amazing selection of random friendship and blank cards in addition to holiday cards. A card is a simpler and quicker way to send a fun packaged note to a friend far away - and they are only 1 dollar! What could be easier?The cards have become an official part of my grocery shopping list.
5. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS 'IT'S BEEN TOO LONG'
This is more of an opinion that a tip but I still hope you find it encouraging. Give yourself grace. There is no such thing as too much time between chats to validate more time between chats. I have often heard, "I can't call her - it's been too long. She is pry mad at me." Even if this is the case, how much sweeter will your reach out be? I have often had lulls of months and even a year between calls or texts with friends. I remind myself that I still love that person and there is never a time that is to late to remind them of that fact and check in.
~ A ~